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I Stand Upon the Word of God
I Stand Close to the Word of God
Which One?

How would your youth group sing this old Sunday School song? How would you, as the leader, sing it?

The Original
The B-I-B-L-E, Yes, that’s the Book for me.  I stand alone on the Word of God,The B-I-B-L-E,

The Post-modern Version
The B-I-B-L-E,Yes, that’s a book for me.  I stand close to the Word of God,The B-I-B-L-E.

Biblical authority is under attack in our society, our schools, and even in some churches. Belief in the Bible as the inspired, inerrant and valid Word of God has been questioned from the time of the apostles. Beginning with the beloved Apostle John, godly men and women have stood against the tide of popular belief in order to validate and preserve the inspiration of Scripture. Many today also declare that it alone provides God’s message of salvation and His commands to those who desire to live holy, productive lives as His servants. The attack continues. Even some who claim to be Christians fail to honor God as sovereign and to obey the commands of Scripture.

The Ideas that Led to Change
In modern times, attacks upon the Bible as the Word of God come from several “-isms,” or ideologies that have strongly influenced our culture and religion. The most powerful and recognizable of these is Secular Humanism, which arose and gained popularity in the 1600s. As men expressed greater faith in the scientific method and the reasoning of man they began to question the teachings of Scripture. Over the past three or four centuries, the human intellect has replaced God’s Word as the source of truth. Since the existence of God could not be proven in a laboratory, both His existence and His Word were dismissed as myth and fable.

As Secular Humanism began to influence Christianity, liberal theologians replaced historic Christian doctrines and practices with new and fashionable ideas. Social programs became more important than the clear presentation of the gospel of salvation. Liberalism required that Truth be defined as that which could be tested by the scientific method, conformed to the standards of reason and related to human experience. As a result, many definitive Christian beliefs were called into question. Such things as the virgin birth of Christ, the miracles of Christ, and even the sin nature of mankind were examined and discarded by the “higher criticism” of the time.

Modernism is a close ally of Liberalism. Modernist theologians and philosophers questioned the inerrancy of Scripture. They declared that the value of Christianity was in its high moral standards rather than in its allegiance to absolute Truth. They saw history, not as God’s working out His plan of salvation, but as man becoming more highly developed, or evolved, as a moral being.

The most recent “-ism” to gain a following in religious and intellectual circles is Post-modernism. As expressed in contemporary theology, Post-modernism rejects much of modernism, but continues to deny the existence of absolute truth. With its fluid definition of truth, post-modernism focuses on relationships, love and tradition as elements of a constantly changing foundation for any belief system. The proponents of this ideology tend to interpret Scripture in pragmatic applications. This makes it appropriate for each individual or group to define what is acceptable or true based on personal experience and what seems to work in daily life.

The Symptoms of Truth Denial
Paul warned the Colossian church against “. . . hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human traditions and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians 2:8) When our society succumbs to the modern human ideologies defined above, our faith is eroded and our morality declines. We move away from the strong foundation of Scripture to the shifting sands of relativity.

Our view of God is one of the first things to suffer when we drift away from absolute faith in the Bible as the Word of God. Is God absolutely sovereign, or is He limited by the choices made by individuals and nations? Does He control the progress of history, or is He simply watching the unfolding of human events? Does the Lord direct events in the Middle East, or are His hands tied as opposing forces battle for ascendancy in religion and the control of oil? If we give in to the humanistic thinking of the liberal theologians, we place ourselves under a cloud of uncertainty and despair. Nothing in our values says the same from day to day. No wonder the daily news broadcast makes us shake our heads at how out-of-control the world seems to be.

If the Bible is not the inerrant, authoritative Word of God, we have no foundation for any kind of hope and no guidance in making moral decisions. We should join Frank Sinatra in singing, “It can’t be wrong if it feels so right.” We ought to agree that the Ten Commandments have no value except as representative statements of an outdated religious system. Why shouldn’t they be removed from every classroom, courthouse and capital building in the land? Since marriage can be defined according to what works in each individual’s life, why not declare homosexual unions to be legitimate? It’s no big deal that co-habitation and divorce are acceptable practices among just as many professing Christians as in the population at large. Neither should anyone be concerned when an unborn human baby is thought to be merely a “product of conception” that lives or dies at the whim of his mother.

Every area of life is affected when we join liberal theologians and post-modern philosophers in viewing Scripture as only an interesting sampling of ancient myths and moral teachings. Once we buy into the idea that even parts of the Bible are erroneous or non-authoritative, we have no basis for declaring that some things are inherently right and others are inherently wrong. Our moral compass becomes worthless. We find that our lives are anchored in the shifting sand Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7:21-27.

Eternal Implications of Absolute Truth
In addition to its importance in moral decisions and guidance for life, what we believe about God’s Word determines our eternal destiny. When a person begins to set aside absolute truth and the sovereignty of God, he places himself in a position to experience God’s wrath at the judgment rather than God’s blessing. Consider these straightforward, black-and-white statements from Scripture:

“I am God, and there is no other. I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient time, what is still to come.
I say: My purpose will stand and I will do all that I please.” (Isaiah 46:9-10)

“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” (John 14:21)

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36)

Clearly, truth matters. It is imperative that each person who calls himself “Christian” understands two things: (1) That the Bible is the inspired, authoritative and inerrant word of God. It is to serve as the foundation of our faith and as our guide for making life decisions. (2) That we mere humans have no right to pick and choose what portions of Scripture we will believe. Making an error in either of these foundational principles of our faith result in eternal disaster for our souls and the souls of anyone we influence.

Standing upon the Bible in Ministry
So, what will our ministry to young people look like if we are standing firmly upon, rather than close to, the Bible? We suggest that leaders who truly believe in the authority of Scripture will teach it without apology. They will encourage and challenge group members to biblical commands and principles, even though they run counter to the thinking of their friends. They will help teens analyze both the eternal and temporal benefits of heart-felt obedience compared to any gains that might result from compromise. They will also demonstrate through their words and their lives an absolute devotion to obedience to God’s Word that sacrifices immediate pleasure for eternal blessing. As they stake their lives upon their faith in God and His Word, they will encourage their young disciples to join in the great adventure of living as children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Then, the members our youth groups will able to honestly sing the original version of the song:

The B-I-B-L-E,
Yes, that’s the Book for me.
I stand alone on the Word of God,
The B-I-B-L-E,

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